2021 the most successful year in history for EV uptake

More battery-electric cars were registered in 2021 than 2016-2020 combined, according to new data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

190,727 new battery-electric vehicles were registered, along with 114,554 plug-in hybrids, meaning 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021 can be plugged in. 

This is in addition to the 147,246 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) registered, meaning 27.5% of the total market is now electrified in some form.

Following investment in new technology, more than 40% of models are now available as plug-ins. 

The UK also finished 2021 as the third-largest European market for new car registrations but the second largest by volume for plug-in vehicles and the second largest for battery electric vehicles.

green and white number 2

However, SMMT has warned that recent announcements, including cuts to both purchase incentives and grants for home chargers, put the achievement of industry’s and government’s net-zero ambitions at risk.

They also warn that the slow pace of growth in on-street public charging – where, on average, 16 cars potentially share one standard on-street charger – could put the brake on EV demand and undermine the UK’s attractiveness as a place to sell electric cars.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s been another desperately disappointing year for the car industry as Covid continues to cast a pall over any recovery. Manufacturers continue to battle myriad challenges, with tougher trading arrangements, accelerating technology shifts and, above all, the global semiconductor shortage which is decimating supply.

‘Despite the challenges, the undeniable bright spot is the growth in electric car uptake. A record-breaking year for the cleanest, greenest vehicles is a testament to the investment made by the industry over the past decade and the inherent attractiveness of the technology. The models are there, with two of every five new car models now able to be plugged in, drivers have the widest choice ever and industry is working hard to overcome Covid-related supply constraints.

‘The biggest obstacle to our shared net-zero ambitions is not product availability, however, but cost and charging infrastructure. Recent cuts to incentives and home charging grants should be reversed and we need to boost the roll-out of public on-street charging with mandated targets, providing every driver, wherever they live, with the assurance they can charge where they want and when they want.’



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top